2018 Bas Relief Workshops with Angela Pistrucci

I am excited to be sharing techniques and processes for the fine art of bas relief beginner to advanced – all artist of any medium welcome!
To Register for workshops for 2018 or for more information link here:
Vancouver Island School of Art

Red Deer College Summer Series:

Metchosin International Summer School of Art:

Past workshops:

5 Day Bas Relief Summer 2017 Poster



Oil Paint medium Recipe – Cold Wax paste

1 part: Beeswax
3 parts: Turpentine
In a double-boiler, melt the beeswax (break into chunks). Remove from heat. Stir in turpentine until a soft paste forms(if possible, do this outdoors). You can make this thinner by adding up to 6 parts turpentine.

Always use proper ventilation when working with solvents.

Wax, damar resin, oil
4 parts: Beeswax
1 part: Damar crystals
1 part: Sun thickened linseed oil
12 parts: Turpentine
Melt wax, linseed oil carefully in a double boiler. Remove from heat and add damar crystals and turpentine. For a thick, buttery, but light consistency in an oil paint, wax combines well with fast drying soft resin and heavy oil.

Fill a jar with chunks of beeswax and pour in orange oil, cap and let sit at room temperature for a couple of days, shaking or stirring once in a while. No heating is required at all. Jeanne suggests that you can try adding damar crystals also, though this is not something she herself has done.

Juried Art show – The process – Sidney Fine Arts

I recently submitted 3 pieces of Art to the Sidney fine art show in Sidney BC Canada. I am impressed and amazed at the organization and professionalism that was so evident in every aspect of its delivery. First of all because of the large number of artists that submit works for adjudication it was necessary to apply within a timeframe on a first come first serve basis. Artists dropped off artwork for adjudication on sept12th with the jurors viewing the work the 13th and 14th. We picked up our artwork on the 15th and to my utter surprise was emailed the next day (16th) with the results (accepted or not accepted). The Sidney Fine arts committee went above and beyond to deliver results so quickly to over 500 artists with over 1200 pieces of art adjudicated in that time period. What I am really excited about is the website and its informative structure. Not only does it cover necessary information but lets the artist know the complete process step by step. I did not know how artwork was juried but I was elated to find out about the entire process through the sidney fine arts website.  If you are thinking of submitting work I highly recommend artists compete in juried art shows. They force you to go further with your art than you would of thought possible regardless of the outcome of the results.


Adjudication for the 2010 Sidney Fine Art Show is now complete. On Sunday, September 12th all the entered work was received at the Mary Winspear Centre, and set up in numerical order for the following two days of jurying.

Brent LJean PAndy WOn the Monday, our three Jurors, returning juror Brent Lynch, Jean Pederson and Andy Wooldridge each individually looked at every piece and scored it on a 1- 5 scale, based on excellence, creativity, originality and technical achievement with an emphasis on artistic accomplishment. During the day, the individual scores were entered into our trusty computer.
ComputerAt the end of the day scores were totaled and ranked by overall score and variation in scores. This gave a clear view of what was definitely to be accepted or not accepted, with a small number of pieces to be reviewed again.
Jurors1Jurors2On the next day, the jurors as a group reviewed that small number of pieces to make their final selection. After that, they reviewed potential prize candidates and decided on the prizewinners. Then, on Wednesday, all the artwork was picked up by the artists.

Our jurors were stimulated by the quality and diversity of the work, and, to quote Andy Wooldridge, “gobsmacked” by the organization of the adjudication process.

In total, 512 artists submitted over 1,200 pieces of art, and the jurors selected the best 388 pieces, representing the work of 246 artists, for the Show.

Members of the Show committee will be meeting on Thursday, September 16th to do a final review of the results and check the information that will be contained in the accepted artists’ packages. After that meeting, on the same day, we will be sending email notifications to all artists who indicated their willingness to be notified in that way – which is almost all of them. The notification will advise artists either i) that one or more of their pieces was accepted or ii) that none of their pieces were accepted.

Stain glass window project

I was just recently commissioned to complete a realistic looking owl for a stain glass window. This project is a collaborative effort between designer Marjorie Brice, stain glass window artist Cavan Butler and myself. I visited the window today and it is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately my camera battery was being charged so no pictures of the window yet. I WILL post pictures of the window as soon as I can. Here is a few pictures of my owls. I have completed some Owl ‘rough drafts’ as tests and to see how it would look (see picture below ) Now to complete the actual piece (size 4 3/4″ x 2 1/3″). Here is a quick drawing of  an owl reverse painted with encaustic on glass & they said it couldn’t be done. DSC00630DSC00633

Art sites

A comprehensive list of internet sites for Artist competitions, calls for entry, marketing and juried exhibitions :
This is for the artist that likes to apply themselves in as many directions as possible all at once.
I spent hours on the computer over a month collecting these sites on my favourites hopefully they will be helpful to all my artist friends out there. If you find something of value let me know or if you are not happy with one of the sites listed here for some reason let US all know so that we can help each other.
Current information: 

Book cover:  Art will be accepted through December 31, 2010


Here is a site with lots of excellent opportunities for artist residencies (with some paid stipends) and international opportunities – worth checking out and probably one of the best sites on the internet for artist opportunities.
scroll through the pages for many different types of opportunities:
For artists focusing on feminist approach and women

drawing competition: http://www.manifestgallery.org/nda/
Canadian Institute of portrait artists:  http://www.portraitscanada.ca/  
Artist competitions and designers —-Designboom.com
Anyone want to design a puzzle go here: http://www.masterpiecesinc.com/AboutUs/ArtistSubmissions.aspx
or for prints and publishing artist submissions you can check this out:
Great idea and want to be published?
Have a need to exhibit in a craft market?
For next year you can also check out one of a kind show and sale for toronto vancouver new york etc.
ART Competitions:
http://www.manifestgallery.org/ drawing competition deadline dec31 2009
or their other competitions here http://www.manifestgallery.org/about/submit.html
Want to be on a stamp? http://www.whc.org/en/stamp-print-program/
A free artist opportunities site: http://www.studiochroma.net/art_opportunities/about-2/
  artist /sculptors
Design a small teapot http://gallery.saddleback.edu/shows/11FEB10/ 
Live in New York? http://www.nyfa.org/opportunities.asp?type=Opportunity&opp=OppArtist&id=95&fid=1&sid=54
Portfolio space: http://www.lwcr.com/artistfront/
ARTbook :http://www.internationalcontemporarymasters.com/artists.html
invitation to design invitations? http://www.invitationconsultants.com/designcontest.aspx
Interested in tile? http://www.tileheritage.org/TileHeritage-home.html
Deadline for submission dec 8th (tile)http://www.juriedartservices.com/index.php?content=event_info&event_id=224
Call for artists: http://artistsonline.biz/call_for_entries/craft_show.htm
Ok here is where ART and SCIENCE collaborate apparently: http://www.asci.org/
CONT”D http://www.artcalendar.com/adlisting/index.asp?EntryFee=1

Zelli Porcelain: http://www.zelli.co.uk/award2009.html
A national ceramic competition:
ART Fair/ shows:
Too late for this year (held in late oct) but really early for next year!! 😉
Gallery submissions
Charles cummings gallery : http://claylink.com/zen/index.php?main_page=page&id=18&chapter=0&zenid=07bb5fb63d09ffc2a2b9591020a3509e
EBSQ http://blog.ebsqart.com/2009/08/03/ebsq-announces-revamped-featured-artist-program/
ETSY etsy.com
For How to information for artists or anyone check out:
Would like to get into the movie industry go here:
A construction material that artists are using as a substrate for watercolor, acrylic and oil  etc :
Artist Projects to get involved with:
For Encaustic artists:
international encaustic artists – this site is not user friendly you need patience.
Competitions cont’d
http://artelagunaprize.com/  added extra bonus wine label competition !!

Greenhouse gallery portfolio submission: http://www.greenhousegallery.com/portfolio.html
Greenhouse gallery 2010 prospectus for competition submissions for traditional representational artists:
Salon international 2010 http://www.greenhousegallery.com/si/
Emerging Artist auction NYC

Wine labels usually held annually

If anyone has some more sites of interest do not hesitate to add them to this post. I am currently interested in wine label competitions.

Artist Formula’s

Here are some art recipes I have just stumbled across and thought they might be useful.

A recipe that I have developed that mimics Golden’s molding paste and is less expensive to make your self:

Golden’s Twin

1 part white glue
3 parts polyfilla
6 parts stephens acrylic impasto gel

Use for textural effects -can be sanded and built up as desired. Use for impasto effects, stamping ( place stamps in water prior to pressing onto molding paste for easier release).

Encaustic paint:
excerpt from formula for painters ( & my version in brackets)
Beeswax 8 parts ( I added 6parts beeswax and 2 parts parrafin wax for clarity and hardness)
Damar resin (crushed to powder) 1 parts
sun thickened linseed oil 1 part ( I did not add this – I added extra damar resin -2 parts)
Some recipes add 1 part turpentine – enkaustikos omits this as it is toxic. your choice. I tried both and it did not seem to make much difference whether it was in or not.( I preferred the version I made with the turpentine and paraffin wax additions.).
Combine all ingredients, heat and melt together stirring until mixed thoroughly. pour into muffin containers.
authors note: add oil paint for pigment or schmeinke pastels. Makes an easily handled dry hard cake.
Directions for use: For encaustic technique, reheat and melt this material. grind in the dry pisgments and apply to a rigid panel with a knife. to use in paste form melt the pieces with a equal quantity of turpentine. Thinned sufficiently this will make a painting medium for use with tube oil paints.

Damar Varnish ( excerpt from formula for painters by Robert Massey – excellent book)
Purpose: medium glaze or final picture varnish
1 part damar resin (lumps)
1 part turpentine
place into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. ( I crushed my damar resin crystals first) turn and shake daily until resin is dissolved. This takes 2-3 days. If there are impurities in the varnish strain with a cheesecloth into a clean bottle.
directions for use: oil painting – final varnish dilute solution with equal quantity of turpentine. Egg tempura – dilute solution with 4 times the quantity with turpentine.
Original solution is excellent for a medium to add to other ingredients for paint or glazes.Dries in 1 hour.

Gelatin Solution for paper: (excerpt from robert massy formulas for painters)
Purpose: gelatin solution provides a very clear bath for sizing white papers- making them suitable for painting -and gives extra strength to fragile paper. The old masters often painted with oil paints on sized paper.


1 1/2 leaves
Water                   1 gallon
soak the imported leaf gelation in a pint of water until the fealtine swells to three times in dry thickness; then warm the gelatin and water in a double boiler until the gelatin dissolves.   Pour this solution into the remaining water and stir well to disperse the glue completely.
directions for use In a tray large enought to lay the paper out falt immerse the paper sheets in the glue solution for several hours.  Remove the paper with great care. Bolt each sheet carefully aand hang it up on a clothesline to dry. You can also tack a dry sheet of paper onto a drawing board and brush the solution onto the sheet. Freshly sized paper can also be dried by laying it on a sheet of glass. After the paper has dried spray it with a 4% formaldehyde soluiton to further harden and protect the size.

Note: A standard 37% formaldehyde solution can be purchased at drugstores. One part added to 10 parts water produces the proper solution.

Paperclay Recipe for kiln firing methods:

You can use a variety of different papers and clays to get the effect you want such as stoneware or porcelains. It is by experiment and your favourite clays. The recommended paper to use is newsprint but any paper (with the exception of gloss papers) will do.  Thus ancient paper mixture allows the clay body to open up, lighten the weight and add strength. The recipe for this process is simple and easy – start by shredding the paper ( in a shredder works best and is faster than by hand) Soak overnight at least 24 hours. Next with a blender or drill with a mixing bit attachment mix the soaked paper until a thick paste consistency.  Add your clay in powdered form – 60 parts powdered clay to 40 parts paperclay.

For repairs on bisque or greenware:  Add  1part magic water, 2parts clay  mix until a slip consistency. next add 1 part toilet paper or tissue paper and mix until a smooth paste. glue the broken pieces together or with a small paintbrush paint the cracks with the mixture. let dry and sand with fine sandpaper **carefully***.

Magic Water : used by sculptors and potters to adhere wet clay together after scoring the pieces.
3 tbsp sodium silicate
1-5 tsp soda ash
1 gallon water

Spooze: (use: as above)
1/3 slip
1/3 Karo syrup
1/3 vinegar

Air Dry Paperclay: In a bowl combine
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. salt
warm water  – mix with hands and knead until consistency of clay.
Paperclay recipe #2
1 pkg creative paperclay
2-3 tbsp wallpaper paste
2-3 tbsp water

cut paperclay into chunks  add water and paste. Mix and knead with hands until consistency of toothpaste let dry overnight. seal in ziploc bags.

Oil Pastels ( excerpt from: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=380215)
Kenneth Leslie –Oil Pastel: Materials and Techniques for Today’s Artist (Watson-Guptill, 1990)
Modified recipe. longevity unknown as it depends on the quality of materials being used.

A few warnings.
First: Oils, mineral spirits, and wax are flammable. Do not use near an open flame, or smoke while using them. This implies you should NOT use a gas stove for making OPs. When melting the wax, keep the temperature as low as possible. Wax melts at 140-150F; don’t let it get any hotter. Keep an appropriate type fire-extinguisher or at least some baking soda at hand to extinguish a potential fire. Do NOT attempt to put out such a fire with water.

Second: potentially noxious fumes can develop if you over-heat the wax. When melting the wax, make sure you have adequate ventilation.

Third: the toxicity of some of the pigments. You need to avoid breathing in, inadvertently consuming, or skin contact with, pigment powder. Avoid using the most toxic, and wear a government-approved dust mask and gloves when dealing with the pigments. Wear long sleeves and pants to avoid skin contact. Keep some water and paper towels at hand to clean up any stray pigment dust. Do not mix the pigment with a fan blowing or the window open. It is best to work in your studio, not in the kitchen where pigment might contaminate your food. Keep pets and children out of the area.

(This being said, encaustic painters have worked with pigments in heated wax for hundreds of years.)
Bleached beeswax – this can be purchased at an art store or at Michaels. Bleaching makes it white, which you need for lighter colours. An even purer grade is Pharmaceutical grade, which can be purchased on the Internet. See www.fineartstore.com for a discussion of the pros and cons of different waxes for encaustics, some of which is relevant to the making of OPs.

Pigments – I was able to buy small containers of pure pigment (Demco brand, a Canadian company) at my local art store. All were in the $7-$8 range, except for the one Schminke brand I bought (pthalo blue) which was $30.00.

Odourless Mineral Spirits – Leslie uses turpentine to mix with the powdered pigment to make a paste. I don’t like the smell of turpentine and have substituted OMS. It seems to work fine for this purpose.

Oils – I am currently using half mineral oil (bought at the drugstore) and half Winsor and Newton Stand Oil for my oil. Leslie only uses stand oil, a slow-drying form of linseed oil. Mineral oil is a non-drying oil, which appears to be used in today’s artist-grade OPs. So I have combined the two, but this combination is experimental and subject to change.


Griddle – Some people, including Leslie, recommend melting the wax over hot water, using a double-boiler on an electric hotplate, as the safest method. I have chosen to use an inexpensive griddle with a temperature control (bought at Walmart), based on reading about encaustic equipment. I determined the correct temperature-control setting by heating water in my wax-melting container and measuring the temperature with a cooking thermometer. I do avoid splashing or dripping wax on the griddle surface.

Container for melting the wax – As I make only one OP at a time, I’m using a stainless-steel measuring cup (1/2 or 2/3 cup size) in which to melt the wax. Since the wax cools very rapidly when removed from the heat, you will waste a lot of material if you use too large a container. But you need one which is tall enough to prevent spillage when you are mixing in the oils and pigment paste.

Glass plate for making pigment paste – I bought a glass cutting board at my local Home Hardware store. One side was textured, but the other side was smooth, which is what you want.

Measuring spoons – For dipping out appropriate amounts of the pigments you are going to combine for a given colour. It’s best to have several in different sizes, so you don’t have to stop and clean them during the pigment-mixing stage.

Large flat palette knife, narrower-bladed palette knife – The large knife is used to mix and grind the pigment paste to a smooth consistency on your glass plate.( A glass muller is not necessary.) The narrower-bladed knife is used to stir the melted wax, medium and pigment paste to blend them.

Eye-dropper, syringe – To draw up the right amount of mineral and stand oil from their bottles. Stand oil is very thick, much like honey, so you need a dropper or syringe with a wide opening.

Mask and vinyl gloves – Needed particularly for the pigment-paste mixing stage.

Pastel mould – See below for one type of mould you can use

Oven mitts, and fire-extinguisher or baking-soda – I find that my measuring-cup handle doesn’t actually get hot (I keep the cup at the edge of the griddle), but the gloves will protect your hands if the wax splashes for any reason.
Making the OP:
Step one: Make the pastel mould
Leslie recommends rolling a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil around a cylindrical object of the required diameter to create a tube. I use my pastel holders for this. I happen to have two, one smaller diameter and one larger, so I can make either size. Then you fold over a seam (I double fold the foil to make a secure seam) and fold up the bottom. Remove the cylindrical object at this point. To hold the tube upright, use Play Dough, or you can make a permanent support out of self-hardening clay. Place the mould on newspaper or paper towels so you can catch any drips when you pour the liquid into the mould.

Step two: Make the pigment paste

Wearing a mask and vinyl gloves, place the pigments you are using for the particular colour you want in the centre of your glass plate in a mound. Hollow out the centre and, using an eyedropper, add some Odourless Mineral Spirits a bit at a time. Using the large palette knife, mix and scrape the pigments and OMS together until no lumps remain and the colours are well integrated with each other. Use only as much OMS as is necessary to make a paste. (see illustration)

Step three: Create the medium (Beeswax, Stand oil and Mineral oil combination)

Open the window or ensure other adequate ventilation. Extinguish any open flames. Using a griddle or a double boiler, melt the wax at 140-150F. Do not overheat. Remove the container from the heat and add the stand oil and the mineral oil. The proportion of wax to oil should be approximately 3 or 4 parts beeswax to 1 part oil. I am currently using a mixture of 50% stand oil and 50% mineral oil for the one part oil. If the wax starts to solidify, return the container to the heat briefly.

Step four: Mix the pigment paste and wax medium

The desired proportion of pigment paste to wax medium is approximately 50/50, depending on the pigments used, since pigments have different oil absorption rates. Add the pigment paste to the wax medium mixture and stir well to combine. Return the container to the heat if necessary to keep the wax medium melted, but don’t leave it on the heat for a prolonged time.

Step five: Pour into the prepared mould

Carefully pour the liquid into the mould. Leave the pastel to harden for at least two hours, preferably more. leave the tinfoil on the OP as a wrapper, peeling it back as necessary.

Recipe for cold porcelain paste
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup white glue
stir together until smooth

2 tbsp baby oil
2 tbsp vinegar
colorant – 1 tsp powdered tempera paint
Microwave 30 second intervals and stir for a total of 1 minute and 30 seconds

Mix together and knead -add one tbsp nivea cream

Place in a plastic bag overnight.

Encaustic painting


Purchased @ the local thrift store

For the past couple of days I have been painting with encaustic as a medium. I was asked to do an owl in realism on a piece of glass for a stain glass window for the designer and good friend Marjorie Brice.  I approached her with the idea of creating it in encaustic as it has the look of a stain glass window when painted. To my surprise She was totally up for the experiment so I will be documenting my project here. It has been a worthwhile journey of research for the past month. Finally I decided it was time to actually attempt the medium. What happened over the past week was quite thrilling for me – I get excited over paint  -its a weird obsession. What gets me about encaustic is the fact that if I can master this ancient artform I can incorporate all my artforms into one medium. I can sculpt, paint and draw realistically with encaustic. It can be as colorful or as plain as you want it to be. You can texture it add relief, sculpt, collage anything into it, make it 3d, 2d abstract or realistic figurative . In my mind encaustic is more versatile than any other medium. You can paint on glass, wood, just about anything. I wouldn’t paint on canvas though as it needs a hard substrate as canvas is too flexible for this medium. Some artists do use canvas though so you may not necessarily need to rule it out if it is solution to a certain project. After I completed my YOUTUBE research on encaustics I happened to be looking in the local newspaper which I never read and I never read the free section either but by obvious direction from the universe my eyes glanced at the paper and I saw an ad for free tempered glass shelving. I immediately called because I was thinking glass would possibly be a beautiful substrate for my encaustic experiments. I always go from most difficult to easy – go all or go home. Anyway funny thing the guy who called first ‘ first come first serve’ never showed up and I went and picked up a small pickup truck filled with glass. I couldnt believe it ! here was enough glass canvas to last a year AND it was free ahh the universe is amazing *note my husband wasnt as excited about it as I was. Artists are amazing at recycling. The owner of the glass said it must of been meant for me as he had a lot of interest but noone actually showed up. After that I decided it was time to go thrift store shopping for my encaustic supplies. I picked up an iron (flat metal with no holes and small) and a pancake griddle to heat the wax paint cakes. next I needed to actually make the paint. I heated my wax in an old crock pot and added the damar resin crystals a ratio of 8parts wax to approx 1 part resin. (for the glass painting I will be adding more resin).

Resin crystals and metal tins

Resin crystals and metal tins

Next time I will be heating my wax in a pan on the pancake griddle as I had trouble getting the damar resin to melt – it melts at 200 degrees and the wax at 150 -I think I need to complete some more research . There is no temperature gage on the crock pot so it was not working too well– live and learn. Once the mixture is heated together pour into muffin containers and add oil paint or schmeincke pastels (excellent pigment for encaustics I am told) or pigment powders. I added some oil paint **tip: leave over night on a papertowel to remove some of the oil and  ‘voila’ paint.

I used a cheese cutter worked great

I used a cheese cutter for the wax -worked great

I had some porcelain relief tiles that were fired and unpainted downstairs that would work great for my first encaustic project. You can paint on unpainted ceramic- go figure?  I invited my artist friend Sandy Terry over to help me christin my new thrift store buys and she painted on a wooden panel while I worked on my relief tiles and a small paperclay cameo. I was really frustrated but Sandy absolutely loved it. Working a textured free form medium over a hard surface with relief was more than I had bargained for. But in the end I think me and the encaustic came to a mutual agreement. for my first attempt I am happy and excited about the challenge this medium will bring into my art.